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Reducing the negative impact of lifestyle choices on immune health

With the pace of life only getting faster by the day, it is natural for our immune systems to be threatened by a number of different immunity challenges. As shown by findings of numerous studies1, our lifestyle choices have a significant impact on our body's immune response. For instance, stress, urgency, a lack of sleep and an unhealthy diet are some of the bad habits that can weaken your immune system. As such, it is important for you to practice positive habits as they can help to boost the health of your immune system. However, this begs the question - which of these bad habits should you pay the most attention to? Read on to learn more about some of the common habits that can have a negative impact on your immune system.

Young woman stretching after a good night's sleep

Lack of sleep

It is important to note that your immune system isn’t just affected by the amount of sleep you get, but the quality of sleep you get as well. You need to achieve the right number of “deep sleep” hours if you want to boost your immune strength. Adults, in particular, need between 7 to 9 hours of undisturbed sleep2 in order for their bodies to maintain a healthy immune response. If you aren’t sleeping well, you may want to try relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga. Alternatively, “switching off” from all screens approximately an hour before bedtime is also a good idea as it’s generally easier for your brain to go to sleep in a setting that is completely dark.

Insufficient physical activity

Regular physical activity strongly affects your immune system and can help you to avoid infections3. Conversely, if you are not physically active at all, you are preventing your immune system from building up the strength it needs to fend off harmful infections, such as cold and flu. That’s why it’s important to get in the habit of staying active. If you live a sedentary lifestyle, start performing basic strength training exercises or going for a jog a few times every week. Even a few minutes of daily brisk walking counts, and will eventually pay off in the form of a stronger immune system that’s better at fending off infections.

Smoking

Hanging around smokers while they are smoking can also affect your immune system, as the substances found in cigarette smoke can weaken your body’s ability to resist infections. If you want to have strong immune system, don’t smoke. If you are a smoker, take into consideration the fact that your white blood cells are constantly playing defence, as these cells have to continuously fight off the damage caused by cigarette smoke. As such, leaving this bad habits by quitting smoking is the best option for you, as it will help you to improve the strength of your immune system.

Poor diet

Constantly in a rush, no time for quality food? That’s a huge risk to your immune system! Along with stress and sleep, nutrition is a key factor linked to your body’s immune response4. Food is the most basic source of energy, and also a source of the essential vitamins and minerals needed for maintaining the health of your immune system. But if you’re not eating healthy, then how can you expect your immune system to remain strong? It is that simple! So drop the bad habit of eating fast food and enjoy tasty, nourishing meals instead! Make sure you include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables with every meal, as they are the pillars of a healthy and nutritious diet!

Lack of vitamin and mineral supplementation

There are various immunity-boosting supplements available in the market. That doesn’t discount the fact, however, that a lack in intake of essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C and the like can put you at a greater risk of having a weak immune system. And while the best way to get a sufficient intake of daily nutrients is through your diet, you can also opt to take a health supplement like Redoxon®, which can tip the scales of a balanced diet in your favour.

The above are the most common lifestyle choices which affect your immune health. As proper control and monitoring is key to bolstering your immune system, it may be time to drop these bad habits, immediately!

References:

  1. How to boost your immune system, Harvard Health Publishing. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system
  2. How many hours of sleep are enough for good health? Answer From Eric J. Olson, M.D. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/how-many-hours-of-sleep-are-enough/faq-20057898
  3. How to prevent infections. Harvard Medical School, 2016. (Accessed 10/02/2020, at https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-prevent-infections.)
  4. (Song et al, 2019; Patel et al 2012 and Gombart et al 2020). 

Other sources:
https://www.ameritasinsight.com/wellness/health-and-wellness/lifestyle-choices-may-affect-immune-system
https://extension.sdstate.edu/boost-your-immunity-simple-lifestyle-changes
 


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